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10.08.2015, 14:20
Russia put faith in deep squad
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FEATURE: Head coach Kirilenko expresses great confidence in the team he is taking to FYR Macedonia for the Women's 17 EHF EURO
 

Russia put faith in deep squad

Two years ago in Poland, Russia took the silver medal at the Women’s 17 EHF EURO and according to coach of the current squad Vyacheslav Kirilenko, emulating that success is a realistic goal for the country’s new vintage.

This year’s event begins for Russia on Friday at 13:00 hrs. in Skopje with the Group B match against Germany at Jane Sandanski arena, before they take on remaining group rivals Romania and Spain.

“Compared to our current team, the team in 2013 depended more on a few leading players. This time our squad is deeper and our team is smoother, so to speak,” Vyacheslav Kirilenko tells eurohandball.com.

Kirilenko, who led the Russian U19 women’s team to European glory in Denmark two years ago, definitely has something to base his optimism on.

Earlier this month, his team won the EYOF in the Georgian capital Tblisi with victory over Denmark in the final.

“We won the gold in the Olympic Festival in Tblisi, and I definitely want us to repeat that result in Macedonia,” says Kirilenko, who also has rich international experience at senior level as coach by Russian league club Astrakhanochka.

However, as talented as he may see his current squad, talent alone does not do the job, if you ask the Russian coach.

“Actually, hard work is the main strength of our team. I have told the girls that they simply have to work 12 hours a day,” says Vyacheslav Kirilenko.

Even though he recognises his deep squad as a big asset, Kirilenko realises that this year his team also contains some key players who will have to perform in order for the team to be successful in Skopje.

“Our key players this time are Ekatarina Kudriasteva (left back) from Lada Togliatti and Kristina Alirzeva (right wing) from Astrakhanochka,” he says.

Stars of the day after tomorrow

A perpetual purpose of any junior and youth team is to develop future senior international team players, and in this respect, Vyacheslav Kirilenko also sees a lot of potential on his new squad. There may not be stars of tomorrow among such young players, but definitely stars of the day after tomorrow, he believes.

“Yes, we certainly have some potential stars for the future in our team, but I am not going to put any names on the players I have in mind, as I do not want to put any unnecessary pressure on any of them,” he says.

Although he has a lot of faith in his own team, he actually expects the battle for the title to become rather tight among three or four teams.

“Our main rivals for the title will probably be Denmark, Sweden and maybe Hungary,” predicts Kirilenko.


TEXT: Peter Bruun / cor
 
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